The Archive of Scarcity exhibition in Asheville through May 25

Press release:

Window (re/production|re/presentation) is pleased to introduce The Archive of Scarcity, a new work by Orlando/Philadelphia-based artist Leah Sandler. Two versions of this work were conceived and produced by Sandler specifically for Window – one for our original location in Asheville, NC, and a second for The Olin Library at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida – a location that formerly served as one of the sites for our recently concluded Window | National project.

The Archive of Scarcity is part of a larger ongoing body of work by Sandler, The Body Bureaucratic. This particular piece functions as one possible representation of such an institution, in an aestheticized form that emphasizes the body as an enormous appendage encroaching upon a space activated with tropes of corporatized branding. The appropriation of these forms as a temporary window display confounds viewer response both visually (as an image of a glass-paned door panel and adjacent semi-translucent boardroom windows seemingly opening into a space beyond the physical glass of the site’s window itself) and semiotically (as an image purporting to function as an advertisement of sorts, comprised of legible symbols and text that are nonetheless not immediately comprehensible).

In discussing this project, Sandler writes: As a resolution to epistemological violence(s) in the theory of institutional archives, The Archive of Scarcity is an attempt to examine prosthetic memory through the creation of an embodied archive. The acquisitions of this archive will be based on a set of limitations structured upon a lifestyle of minimal resources and maximum mobility, mimetic of the struggles faced by refugees of late capitalism. This series of limitations will simulate the effects of poverty on an undertaking of personal archiving.

In this aestheticized form [The Archive of Scarcity] encourages engagement with and reconsideration of notions of value determination, ownership, and commodification inherent in the daily enforcement of neoliberal capitalism, and how our notions of memory may contribute to this. This particular display also encourages a consideration of the power of representation in archives, as reproductions of experience and memory granted an authoritative voice, and how one’s own body may function as a repository for inscribed memory, an embodied archive, as a subversion of this hegemony over cultural memory. (Leah Sandler)


Leah Sandler is an interdisciplinary artist working between Orlando, Florida and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her work explores speculative archiving in situations of exigency and scarcity brought about by economic symptoms of late capitalism through institutional and bureaucratic forms. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rollins College and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts from University of the Arts. She is a contributor to ArtBorne magazine, and her work has appeared in Orlando Zine (UK), Specs Journal, United Projects Newsletter, and Internet Poetry Journal.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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